Easy harmonica songs for beginners (with tabs)

Here are 7 perfect songs for the harmonica beginner. All the notes are in the middle register: holes 4, 5, and 6 – the easiest notes to play!

These are simple songs, but to play them well you should have good control of all the notes in the middle register, both individually and when moving between holes. Also, it’s advisable to practice articulations using syllables “TA” and “DA” when doing repetitions of blow and draw notes respectively. You can see these articulations marked in bold in the tablature.

Another way to make reading easy is to add the syllable of the articulation (“TA” for the blow notes and “DA” for the draw ones) as in the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” tablature.

If you want to know which harmonica to buy, check out my article Best harmonica for beginners – Buying guide

The songs are arranged by difficulty, and each song has a slow practice version and an original tempo version. It is convenient to learn the song bit by bit, and then play it all together.

Playing a song with clean sound is more important than playing fast.

The last two songs, “This Old Man” and “Jingle Bells”, have various articulations and many passages of hole leaps, which make them even more demanding for a beginner.

When you jump holes, you must not move your mouth too far from the harmonica; just try to keep the gap to a minimum to land right at the center of the hole you want to play next. When you jump from holes 6 to 4, you could accidentally play hole 5 by falling short, or on hole 3 by jumping too far. At first, difficulties in hole leaps are common because you have no reference, but you will improve this with practice!

The tablature I use is the arrow system – up arrow for blow notes and down arrow for draw notes. Learn more about different tablature systems in this article: “How to read harmonica tabs”

I play all the songs with a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C (letter C).

1. Alouette

Alouette harmonica tab

Alouette harmonica tab

2. Ode to Joy

Ode to Joy harmonica tab

Ode to Joy harmonica tab

The second part of the song (last 3 lines) is repeated. Although the tablature says 3 blow, which is the note of the original song, the last line in the audio is recorded in the same note one octave higher (G in the middle register). Playing 6 blow instead of 3 blow is a variant to test the jump from hole 4 to 6 since we are working with holes 4, 5 and 6 at this point – the easiest ones to play on the harmonica.

3. Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb harmonica tab

Mary Had a Little Lamb harmonica tab

4. Oh Susanna

Oh Susanna harmonica tab

Oh Susanna harmonica tab

5. When the Saints Go Marching In

When the Saints Go Marching In Harmonica tab

When the Saints Go Marching In Harmonica tab

6. This Old Man

This Old Man Harmonica tab

This Old Man Harmonica tab

7. Jingle Bells (First part)

Jingle Bells harmonica tab

Jingle Bells harmonica tab (first part)

Coming soon!

Harmonica for Beginners
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  • Alfred henry Nov 23, 2020 @ 9:09

    I am using a Bee tremolo harmonica, is it good?

  • claire Nov 16, 2020 @ 23:52

    Hello sir, you’re website so nice.
    Do u know how can I find 24 holes harmonica tabs, it’s not easily to search

    • Bruno Berloto Nov 18, 2020 @ 19:24

      Hello Claire, thanks! I have recently found a youtube channel called “musiztek production” with some songs to play with the tremolo harmonica like yours. Regards!

  • Corinne Chapkis Nov 8, 2020 @ 23:04

    super helpful! thanks for putting this together

  • Rhonan Oct 22, 2020 @ 19:55

    i love number 7, Thanks

  • satya nugraha Oct 8, 2020 @ 8:32

    harmonica advice for beginners?

    • Bruno Berloto Oct 9, 2020 @ 21:42

      Hi Satya, try to practice at least 30 minutes a day and first focus on playing clean single notes (only one hole at a time). Here I give you a tip for getting better on your single notes: put your mouth as if you were going to pronounce a letter U and place the harmonica on the inside part of your lower lip (never outside) as if you were going to drink from the spout of a bottle. Btw new tutorials are coming soon like how to play harmonica among others. Regards!

  • Hanna Oct 5, 2020 @ 18:52

    Nice!

  • Miracle Sep 28, 2020 @ 13:58

    This is very helpful
    For me as a learner

  • Marybeth Sep 19, 2020 @ 4:48

    Add me to your list.

    • Bruno Berloto Sep 19, 2020 @ 20:32

      Hi Marybeth, you are the one who has to subscribe due to a privacy issue. You can do it on the home page. Regards!

  • Emre Sep 15, 2020 @ 11:38

    Great job
    Keep it up!

  • Luke Collins Sep 5, 2020 @ 13:42

    This website is great! I love it! ❤❤❤!!!! I have just started to play the harmonica and it is amazin’!

  • mikeh Aug 27, 2020 @ 16:54

    Brilliant songs for learning but, after learning to play originally on a tre mellow harmonica I am ha ing difficulty playing single notes on my Hohner Special 20. Do you have any tips for a very old learner?

    • Bruno Berloto Aug 31, 2020 @ 1:37

      Mikeh, that problem is very common indeed and I call it reference on the harmonica. The correct embouchure for tremolo harmonica is quite different than 10 hole diatonic harmonica, you need to readjust it. For playing single notes put your mouth as if you were going to pronounce a letter U and place the harmonica on the inside part of your lower lip as if you were going to drink from the spout of a bottle. Try these advises and you should have better results with your clean single notes. Regards!

      • MikeH Sep 16, 2020 @ 21:57

        Thanks for the tip Bruno. It helped a lot

  • Shaelyn Grimard Aug 18, 2020 @ 21:59

    Hi, I just started learning how to play the harmonica and Im just curious what the difference is between the bolded and non bolded numbers and arrows?

    Thank you,

    • Bruno Berloto Aug 18, 2020 @ 23:53

      Hi, the bolded numbers means that you have to apply a tongue articulation on the repeated blow and draw notes with syllabes “TA” and “DA” respectively, in order to give them a more defined start sound. You have to keep the air stream and when you pronounce the syllabes, the tongue hit the hard palate of the mouth and define more clearly the repeated notes. Regards!

  • Afsal Aug 12, 2020 @ 12:38

    This is really helpfull

    • Bruno Berloto Aug 13, 2020 @ 1:27

      I’m glad for that, thanks for your comment!

      • mikeh Aug 26, 2020 @ 20:43

        Hi, Bruno
        Just started playing g again after a60 year layoff. Treated myself to a Hohner Special 20. My playing is a little ‘sloppy’ at present but will get better. Really looking forward to the ‘blues’ tutorials I never got the chance when I was younger. Cheers MikeH

        • Bruno Berloto Aug 31, 2020 @ 1:21

          Hi Mikeh, It’s great you’ve started again after a while. I will post blues tutorials in the future.

  • misha Aug 10, 2020 @ 4:33

    this is helpful. Thanks!

  • misha Aug 10, 2020 @ 4:28

    Thanks ! i’m going to learn jingle bells. ( I can play it on the piano.)

    • Bruno Berloto Aug 11, 2020 @ 0:07

      Excellent Misha, I learnt this song first on the piano and then on the harmonica too!

  • maddy Aug 10, 2020 @ 1:03

    hi i am nine i had harmonica for year but never really played it.now i on websites on harmonica songs and learning tips.

    • Bruno Berloto Aug 11, 2020 @ 0:03

      Hi Maddy, that’s great. I hope this article help you to learn your first songs on the harmonica!

  • Random name Aug 4, 2020 @ 22:51

    This was helpful thanks!

  • TrexCyclops Aug 4, 2020 @ 7:53

    thanks for ur chord sir,
    im newbie n my name is TC.

  • george f hubert Jul 26, 2020 @ 1:30

    hello sir thanks for your time. I am 59 and just started playing, or trying to. I know nothing about musical notes, like different keys or what not. I have a pretty good ear for music, and i really surprised my-self. The harmonica, i had it for about 2 yrs. I think my son won it in one of them claw machines at wal mart. Any way what is a good beginners harmonica thats inexpensive. It’s really entertaning. Thanks again.

    • Bruno Berloto Jul 28, 2020 @ 20:05

      Hello George, thanks for your comment and welcome to the world of the harmonica. Never is late to learn! The best inexpensive harmonica could be the Hohner Big River Harp. Regards!

  • josh Jul 11, 2020 @ 23:05

    I love this but i would not mind in i could get the blues on this site

  • Isobel Jul 7, 2020 @ 16:33

    Hi how are u

    I was wondering did u have the cork hornpipe on the harmonica?

    thanks!

  • Zafer Jun 22, 2020 @ 18:42

    Thanks!

  • Waqar Ahmad Jun 22, 2020 @ 8:37

    Hi How are u ”

    If you can send me notes of Manja Song (Kai po Chi Movie)

    Thanks you

  • Stella Jun 14, 2020 @ 0:31

    Thanks so much for the

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